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U.S. Department of DefenseExercise Desert Rock (1951)

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In 1951, the Army, working with the Atomic Energy Commission, carried out the Desert Rock Exercises, an experiment to "dispel much of the fear and uncertainty surrounding atomic radiation and the effects of gamma and x-rays."

A tent encampment was set up about 27 miles from where the atomic explosions were detonated on the Nevada Proving Grounds. The encampment housed about 5,000 Army soldiers, civilian observers and technicians. Troops spent hours in classes receiving training in radiation and nuclear weapons effects.

The following is a recorded interview between a sergeant and a training officer prior to a blast:

Question. "How many of your men would volunteer to go up and be in the
foxholes?" (one-half mile from ground zero)

Answer. "I guess about half a dozen."

Question. "It's quite a loud noise when that bomb goes off ... would it do
them any harm?"

Answer. "No sir, not the noise, no."

Question. "How about the radiation? Do you think there is much danger?"

Answer. "Radiation is the least of their worries that the men are thinking

Question. "I think most thought radiation was the greatest danger, didn't
they? Where did they learn differently?"

Answer. "They were, prior to our instructions here. We received a very
thorough briefing."

For the Desert Rock I Exercise, the weapon was fired as an airburst. The majority of the troops were out in the open about seven miles away. The soldiers were told to crouch down and face away from the blast. The bomb flash blanked out the troops from view, and the flash was followed by blast winds and the noise of the explosion. Interviews with soldiers were conducted after the test.

Following the test, the troops were trucked toward the stationary military equipment used for experiments. The experiments were set up one-half mile and also at three miles from the blast. At three miles, the gun emplacements and military vehicles were undamaged, but at on-half mile damage was moderate to heavy.

There was a dialog error made in this military film. Near the beginning of the film there was a claim that these tests were conducted 75 miles northeast of Las Vegas, while they really were staged the same distance northwest of Las Vegas.

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This movie is part of the collection: Short Format Films

Producer: U.S. Department of Defense
Production Company: U.S. Army Signal Corps
Audio/Visual: sound, Black & white, originated from 16 mm film
Language: English
Keywords: Exercise Desert Rock; Desert Rock; 1951; nuclear; nuclear testing; atomic; atomic testing; Nevada; Nevada Test Site; NTS; Buster Jangle; Buster-Jangle; Buster; Jangle; military; radiation; radioactive; fallout; Cold War

Creative Commons license: Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs

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ExerciseDesertRock1951 1.3 GB
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ExerciseDesertRock1951_reviews.xml Metadata 629.0 B

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Reviewer: Kevin VandeWettering - 3.00 out of 5 stars3.00 out of 5 stars3.00 out of 5 stars - October 14, 2007
Subject: Invalid license
This film is a product of the United States Government and the claim of a "license" for this film is invalid.

Works produced by the United States Government are public domain.


The license holder of this film insists that any site (or individuals) linking or independently displaying through any Internet protocol to this film, to visibly, clearly and fully credit in text this organization ["Nuclear Weapons Vault"] on any pages linked, for providing this film: "Provided by the Nuclear Weapons Vault" This license does NOT allow derivations or alterations of this film. This license does NOT allow use of any portion of this film as part of other films, and this license does NOT allow artistic or technical alterations or commercial uses. This license does NOT allow this film to be displayed other than its entirety in the final forms of the files posted at Archive.org.